The 2021 Supercars Championship kicks off on Friday on the hallowed bitumen around Mount Panorama.
For the first time ever, Bathurst will open the season. And this weekend’s meet will be a single-driver sprint event, no less – the first in 25 years at the famous venue.
And while we’re back at the same course that hosted last season’s finale (the first time that back-to-back scenario has occured in 50 years!) one thing will look very different from 2020: Three-time reigning champion Scott McLaughlin won’t be around to defend his Supercars crown after moving to IndyCar.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Repco Mt Panorama 500.
This year’s season opener will see two 40-lap races – one each on Saturday and Sunday – which cover a tick under 250km each.
There will be two practice sessions on Friday, as well as a Qualifying session and a Top 10 Shootout ahead of each race.
The full weekend schedule can be seen at the bottom of this article.
Every practice, qualifying and race session will be broadcast live with no ads breaks during racing in 2021 on Foxtel and Kayo.
TEAMS AND DRIVERS
Scott McLaughlin headlines the list of driver changes, leaving Dick Johnson Racing to their IndyCar counterparts.
He’s replaced by Will Davison, who alongside Anton De Pasquale features in a brand-new DJR line-up – one of three teams to have all-new drivers.
The two others are Team Sydney and Erebus Motorsport. Meanwhile Tickford Racing downsized to three cars after Lee Holdsworth left the squad.
2021 will be legendary driver Jamie Whincup’s final season in Supercars before he moves into management, and the 38 year old Triple Eight Race Engineering driver is keen to add to his seven titles and 122 race wins.
SUPERCARS SEASON CALENDAR
There’s plenty of changes to the season coming.
Besides the first-ever season opener at Bathurst, there’s also a return to Mount Panorama in October for the traditional Bathurst 1000.
The Adelaide 500 is missing, after South Australia decided not to extend their contract to host the race.
Meanwhile Newcastle will not feature on the 2021 calendar but will host the opening event of the 2022 Championship.
The Championship will also conclude for the first time on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Here’s the full 12-event schedule:
Feb 26-28: Mount Panorama 500, Bathurst, NSW
Mar 18-21: Melbourne, Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, VIC
April 10-11: Tasmania SuperSprint, Symmons Plains, TAS
May 8-9: OTR SuperSprint, Tailem Bend, SA
May 29-30: Winton SuperSprint, Winton, VIC
June 19-20: Darwin Triple Crown, Hidden Valley, NT
July 9-11: NTI Townsville, Reid Park, QLD
Aug 20-22: Sydney SuperNight, Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
Sept 11-12: Perth SuperNight, Wanneroo Raceway, WA
Oct 7-10: Repco Bathurst 1000, Mount Panorama, NSW
Nov 6-7: ITM Auckland SuperSprint, NZ
Dec 3-5: Gold Coast Street Circuit, Surfers Paradise, QLD
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FULL BATHURST 500 EVENT SCHEDULE:
– All times AEDT
Practice 1: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Practice 2: 4:05pm – 5:05pm
Armor All Qualifying (Race 1): 9:05am – 9:25am
Armor All Top Ten Shootout (Race 1): 12:10pm – 12:50pm
Race 1: 3:00pm – 4:50pm
Armor All Qualifying (Race 2): 9:05am – 9:25am
Armor All Top Ten Shootout (Race 2): 12:10pm – 12:50pm
Race 2: 3:00pm – 4:50pm
Every practice, qualifying and race session will be broadcast live with no ads breaks during racing in 2021 on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo.